Facebook Marketing Success: The Target Store Example

(found via AdWeek Magazine, Screenshot found on Jeremiah Owyang’s blog)

(…) For the back-to-school season this year, Target made its first foray into social networking by sponsoring a page on Facebook, a site rich in college students.(…) In preparation for the site’s launch – it ran from mid-July through Oct. 1 – ;Target rejiggered its marketing approach from storytelling to, well, party planning. “Our attitude had to be that we were taking advantage of an environment that already exists; we aren’t there so much to tell a story, but to put on a party, giving the students a platform for social interaction,” says Mauro Cavalletti, cd at AKQA, which produced the site.”(…)

Target Facebook Dorm Survival Guide

Target then focused on the finding that college is a period of anxiety and worry for students, who are moving into small, boxy rooms, often with strangers. As a result, Target’s Facebook page was given the theme of “Dorm Survival Guide.” “It was all about the box,” says Charlie Taylor, group account director at AKQA, referring to the small rooms. Attention was paid of course to essentials such as comforters, pillowcases and furniture, but the real focus, Taylor notes, was offering aid. Along with member posts and discussion groups, the site gave students design advice, recipes for the odd ingredients likely to be in their refrigerators and a personality test tied to their furniture. The page initially included video and photos of dorm rooms designed by roster shop Wieden + Kennedy, later replaced by photos of members’ actual dorm rooms. The site also helped members upload and swap pictures of their homes away from home. (…)

By Sept. 31, it had attracted 7,176 members, 409 photos, 483 posts and hosted 37 discussion groups. Most of the feedback was positive and discussed good deals to be had in Target’s brick-and-mortar stores, from which had coffee shops to which had shorter lines, and gave kudos to the dollar bins of discounted merchandise. (…)

To help create this acceptance, Target, which had an estimated $500,000 budget that included the sponsored page and banner ads placed elsewhere on Facebook, dialed down its online sales pitch. The ads that appeared elsewhere on Facebook, for instance, linked to Target’s Facebook page, not its e-commerce site. Discounts and promotions were also kept off the sponsored page. “We learned that in this social environment we had to talk to people first, before trying to sell anything,” Taylor says.(…)

What it means: Target simply adapted their marketing objectives to the Facebook environment. They joined the conversation as “natives” and contributed positively to the community. What I find interesting is that success in this case is not defined as actual sales. Brand engagement and attention are becoming key ingredients to a successful social medial campaign. Respondents to a recent Prospero Technologies survey indicated that “total number of site visitors (17%) was the most important criterion for assessing social media performance. Total number of page views and number of subscribers (15% respectively) were next, followed closely by length of visit on the site (14%).”


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